Wow, what a fun year we had at The Junk Ranch! The fields were full of unique items, we had vendors from 10 states and shoppers that came from as far away as California and New York. It was definitely one for the books my junk loving friends!
It's hard to pick a favorite part of The Junk Ranch weekend, but I think it would have to be the insane wave of excitement when vendors start rolling in. We only get to spend a few days a year with many of these people (our tribe), but they have come to feel like family. We are met with hugs, handshakes, wild stories of junk hunting, their show season, family & life...... and of course we get to be among the first to lay eyes on all of the wonderful treasures they bring.
Our vendors began rolling in at noon on Wednesday, and that's also the time that the several week drought in NW Arkansas ended. Even though it was a bit of a "work around" at times, the rain was much needed, and we were lucky that it cooled things down. Fall weather was in sight!
Everyone was back at it on Thursday morning, and the weather was perfect. It takes many of our vendors a full two days to unload their items and to get everything staged. It is truly an amazing sight to watch it all come together.
All work and no play, just isn't the Junk Ranch way! During set up day, our long time vendor Trish (sitting horseback in the photo below), told me that she made a bet when she bought what has to be the world's largest bouncy horse. The previous owner didn't think she could ride it and of course, for $15 she had to prove him wrong. And, if you're wondering, "did it sell?"...... yes, it did! Trish also sold a stack of coke crates to California vendor, Through The Porthole. I personally think that's pretty awesome..... and I personally wanted one of those large galvanized chicken feeders , but I didn't pull the trigger. I guess there's always next year!
Two full days of hauling in load after load of vintage, repurposed, salvage, boutique, handmade and more....... and it was show time! These junk lovers, thrill seekers and fun havers began showing up by 7 am on Friday. You could find them camped outside of the ticket booth and in front of gate 1. That's three hours before the gates opened for Early Shopping Day. Their excitement was so contagious, and it started the show off on a high note!
By 9 am on Friday, our shuttle drivers had been at it for 2 hours. They were buzzing around the grounds, picking up shoppers and dropping them off at the ticket booth. The ladies who volunteer to run the ticket booth were super busy during this time, but they did such a wonderful job. We seriously have the sweetest crew! Aaaaannnd, speaking of having a sweet crew...... I almost failed to mention that Lara Jo bailed us out again. We got the call that Channel 5 News wanted to do an early morning piece on The Junk Ranch. It's always exciting to know your event is newsworthy, but 4 am y'all. Lucky for us, we have the perfect person to represent the show. Lara Jo (Pretty Quirky) is an original vendor, and she has the background to pull off these interviews with ease. She's just the best..... and did I mention she had to be there at 4 am? We owe her big!
I rolled in just in time for the last segment! I'm sure she wasn't at all distracted by me lurking around in the dark.
Finally, the lines at Gate 1 & 2 had formed, the air horn blasted promptly at 10:00, and we were off for the first day of shopping! The Junk Ranch junkers on Friday showed up with carts, and they were on a mission. Many of them had gone over the vendor layout before they arrived, and they knew exactly where they were heading to first. We had junkers who came with the purpose of filling their trailer for resale, many who were looking for specific items they spotted on social media and of course, those who didn't know what they were looking for until they saw it!
For a great description of how Friday & Saturday shopper's differ, go check out the blog by MonkeyBox!
The Junk Ranch gates closed on Friday at 6 pm. It was a hectic day and we were super pleased with the turn out. We were hoping for lots of folks, because all week long the weatherman had been forecasting rain on Saturday. I know, not what you want to hear! Our vendors were in a large barn, a farmhouse, 3 large festival tents and under pop up canopies, but you always want things to be perfect. Rainy weather is not ideal, but we were confident that junk lovers wouldn't be discouraged. Boy, were we right!! Saturday's crowd was fantastic, and we love it that our followers are a hardy lot. The line of cars started forming early and people poured in steady until 3:00.
People literally began picking the moment they stepped inside the gates. It was such a fun sight, and absolutely what we hoped to see. The rain passed within an hour of opening, and by the end of the day we were all kinda wishing for a few of those clouds to come back. That's Arkansas for ya though! A state where you can have three seasons in 24 hours.
This year I would say that big sellers were vintage holiday items. I saw blow molds tucked under more arms, sleds tossed into wagons, vintage ornaments being snapped up and anything old that had something festive painted on it. I noticed ladders were still popular, farmhouse signs, cupolas, distressed flannels, anything rusty that you could use as a table centerpiece and chippy furniture in original paint were hot finds as well.
Oh yeah, the pumpkins!! Stacks and stacks of locally grown pumpkins, in the most beautiful colors were filling up carts everywhere. Not only have we always made having a pumpkin vendor a focal point of our Fall shows, but we have partnered with the nicest family. Pigtails & Pumpkins, brought out a variety that is unbelievable..... and they hauled them to shopper's cars in their ATV. Watching ladies pick out their favorites for porch decorating and mommy's letting their little ones find some to be carved later, is such a treat to watch. Who doesn't love a pumpkin patch?
Yep, it was two glorious days of hunting for one-of-a-kind finds, eating pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, wood fired pizzas cooked on site and listening to bluegrass music! We hope to see you back for a repeat of food - music - fun - and junk on June 8th & 9th, 2018!